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THE BLACK PRINCE and other stories, by Shirley Ann Grau, Signet, 1954, 191 pp., 35c. A few Americans, Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, Salinger, have given us a poignant awareness of ordinary life, its sadness beyond reclaim. After reading these stories by Shirley Ann Grau, a 28year-old girl living now with her husband in New Orleans, one suspects that another such marvelous talent is at work next door to us. She writes in her own way, not ,diffuse, expository, subtle, but with a firm hand under a bright light; she almost etches with her words. She has no doubt been described, because of some of her passages, as journalistic, but journalism suffers for the rareness of its approach to her: “South of New Orleans, down along the stretch that is called the Lower Coast, the land trails off to a narrow strip between river and marsh. Solid ground here is maybe only a couple of hundred feet across, and there is a dirt road that runs along the foot of the green, carefully sodded levee. It once had state highway markers, but people used the white painted signs for shotgun targets, until they were so riddled they crumbled away. The highway commission has never got around to replacing them. Maybe it doesn’t even know the signs are gone; highway inspectors hardly ever come down this way. To the east is the expanse of shifting swamp grass, and beyond that is the little, sheltered Bay Cordoux, and farther still, beyond the string of protecting islands, is the Gulf. To the west is the Mississippi, broad and slow and yellow …. “Joshua Samuel Watkin sat at the kitchen table in one of the dozen-odd houses that make up Bon Secour, Good Hope, the farthest of the towns along the dirt highway, which ends there, and the nearest town. to the river’s mouth.” Her stories call on remarkable, one is sure authentic detail at need. In the swamp plain house cats gone wild and grown to almost the size of a panther live in the trees, breeding there. “Some nights you could hear their screamingpleasure or maybe pain; you couldn’t tell.” How can she know so much?how it feels in a swamp, for example. “People got suddenly embarrassed and shy of their words and spoke only in whispers when they said anything at all, because the swamp was like a person listening The grasses and bushes and trees and water were like a person holding his breath, listening , and ready to laugh at whatever you said.” Her settings, a reader knows, she has experienced and remembered and imagined with. One feels that her work is less writing than experience. She does not seem to have “a style,” as Hemingway and Faulkner have a style, but rather proves what Roy Bedichek says, “Thought compels style.” She is concerned with her people and the telling of their stories the most human, the most honest way. She writes often of Negroes. She writes so well of Negroes a friend of mine is convinced she is a Negro, even though her jacket pictures show she is white \(“Only a Negro can know Negroes like that,” he said, discriminating in r ever s e, in. Henry Gonzalez’s phrase; to which another friend replied, “By the same reasoning, men cannot write well about womenwhich of course they prison and hastens back to the woman he killed for, meeting hate; a brawling, spending, but dandy Negro man wins the girl who did not chase him and vanishes in a myth. How Miss Yellow Eyes sees her husband off to war and falls out with her brother who stayed home; the way children sometimes are thought of, and not thought of, in the story of a fisherman’s son; the uses of a child when the men are scared. There are stories of whites, too, three in this collection, including one of experiment, an attempt to illuminate a situation with flashes into the future. Most reminiscent of Winesburg is “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” so well told it seems an offense to designate it as anything but itself. Perhaps because these are short stories, Miss Grau tells about her people more from watching them than from her understanding of them; the understanding she conveys through the events. Her novel The Hard Blue Sky may be different in this, but I have not read it. On Tolstoy THE REAL TOLSTOY, Eduard Micek, Firm Foundation Printing House, Austin, 1958, 61 pp., $2. the first moment I noticed in young Tolstoy an opposition to all commonly accepted opinion.” But of course there’s no reason for spending $2 on this book: put the money aside toward a fullscale biography. Dr. Micek is an intelligent man, but he is not a writer; he often finds it necessary to say, “It is necessary to stress that …” or “It is important that …” Then he has not made a careful study. The only freshseeming material is his interview with Dr. Makovicky, a Slovak physician and a friend of Tolstoy. \(In one paragraph Micek insists without explanation that Makovicky was Tolstoy’s “most faithful friend,” then later he gives the results of his interview with Makovicky about Tolstoy’s last is spotty, the author casual, it is good to reflect that Dr. Micek believes in Tolstoy enough to write out his essential perceptions about him and have them brought to publication at considerable financial risk. We do not have many people around here who care this much about anything, much less about writers. The address of the Czech Literary Society is University Station, Box 7555, Austin 12. On East Texas LEGENDS OF EAST TEXAS, Louise Hathcock, Naylor, San Antonio, 156 pp., 1957, $3.50. These chapters, some of them fancies for children, some light history, some legend, are conceived for high school minds and written with pathetic sentiment. As though they would not be apparently enough an amateur literary gesture, the publisher does a disservice to the author by printing on the dustjacket, “A number of important and learned societies claim the author as member, including: Delta Kappa Gamma, American Assn. of University Women, and Texas State Teachers’ Assn.” The author collected many legends by having her students at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches write them for themes and leave them with her if they didn’t want them. She has overblown 25 of them while holding back many others for later books. She has thus conceived of them as subjects for her literary exercise rather than as folk-talk with a value entitled to independent respect. Working through the “as stated previously”s and “Stalwart and brave, like all Indians, they faced their afflictions with stout hearts”s of her prose, one comes now and then on a startling sentiment for an East Texas school teacher: for example, “About October , 1861, San Augustine, like other Texas villages, consisted of far-reaching plantations, where Negro slaves hoed the cotton and reaped the harvest while the plantation owners grew rich.” She tells several interesting tales, one of a Negro who died mourning for his Southern master, killed in the Civil War, and for his own dead wife, who ‘had been abandoned as her sons went to fight for the North; one about an old stagecoach inn west of Alto where itinerant drummers were knifed and dropped in a well; one about “a cruel master of many slaves” who had separated a Negro from his wife and who, when the Negro returned a day late from his wife’s deathbed, bullwhipped him to death on the Old King’s Highway between San Augustine and Na-, cogdoches. It is a pity the author and the publisher did not realize ‘they had hold of a possibility. R.D. T. E .Webb, Texas director, CWA, has written a letter en dorsing J. Edwin Smith for the Supreme Court, maintaining that Robert W. Hamilton, a Shivers appointee to the court of civil ap peals in El Paso, when district judge in Midland issued an in junction banning bona fide pick ets at telephone company build ings all over the state. The rail road brotherhoods have also en dorsed Smith over Hamilton. Texas Businessman reports “worry that big Houston vote will go against Hamilton, who led in first primary, be difficult to offset in otherwise light, scattered voting.” Sen. Yarborough announced he’ll campaign vigorously against his GOP foe, Amarillo publisher Roy Whittenburg. “After all these years of being hit over the head by newspaper publishers and their newspapers and scandalized, now I’m going to have a shot at one of the publishers,” Yarborough said. “You know, his newspapers cover 51 counties in Texas. I only carried 47 of those counties. I’m going back up there and get those other four.” The national GOP is seriously eyeing the November contest between Judge Bob Casey and GOP candidate T. Everett Kennerly for the new congress seat from Houston. The reasoning: GOP man Thad Hutcheson led in the district in the 1957 Senate race, Eisenhower received two thirds of the vote there. UPI writer Raymond Lahr, from Washington, said renominated Sen. Albert Gore \(D.-expected to be among those Southern Democrats fighting for a united Democratic Party in the 1960 presidential campaign. Others will be less interested in keeping the South in the national party.” Dallas News said liberals can take heart at Yarborough’s victory but it would be wrong to ‘say Texas is no longer conservative. / The News endorsed as con/ servatives in Dallas legislative runoffs Tom James, against Ed Small, a union man, and Ben Lewis, lawyer, against Wiley Rawlins, who has liberal backing. JJThe Harris County legislative runoffs warmed up considera bly. Bob Eckhardt, one of the liberals, charged the Harris County taxpayers’ committee “has cynically plotted to foist a series of special sales taxes on the people.” The conservative slate put out a brochure listing its five candidates and also listing “the labor-lobbyist slate” of six liberal candidates. Roger Daily, a liberal candidate, blasted “blackball” tactics. / The jockeying for position at the state convention Sept. 9 focuses on what the test issues will be. Liberals believe Daniel would lose on a vote on any of DOT’s three resolutionspreserv ing precinct conventions, honor ing caucus nominees to SDEC, and a party registration law. Con servatives believe Daniel would win on a test vote against DOT’s use of the word “Democrat.” Through his control of the party machinery Daniel has the advantage of the platform gavel in deciding when to take a roll call. ./ Stuart Long in San. Antonio V Light estimates Daniel has control of only 40 of the 1,176 Travis County votes, the rest divided almost even between DOT observes that while Allan Shivers, Dan Moody, and George Sandlin are on the Austin delegation, Lyndon Johnson is not. Shivers, incidentally, voted for the DOT resolution for preserving precinct convention’s in ‘ his precinct meeting. Fannin County named Speakv er Rayburn. chairman of their delegation to San Antonio and endorsed Rayburn and the Democratic state administration. / Discussing possibilities of lib/ erals winning the state party in 1960, the Dallas News obtained these comments: Ed Drake, conservative county chairman, “unlikely,” because Daniel would be in control most of the next two years. Joe Bailey Humphreys, Drake’s opponent this year, “conservatives will join the loyalist movement.” Alan Maley, Dallas AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, “I am not ready to concede” the Sept. 9 convention. Rep. Bob Hughes, a conservative: “The liberal-laborloyalist coalition could gain control. I don’t feel they really turned out this time because it was a non-presidential year. But you can be sure they are working toward 1960.” Political Intelligence / H. M. Baggarly, in the Tulia V Herald, wrote hotly: “When Price Daniel alleges that he wants or is working for harmony, he lies and that is the only word Webster has that accurately describes his action. He is devoted to one causekicking everyone that isn’t one of the original Shivercrats out of places of leadership in the Democratic Party, if not out of the party.” / B.Iggarly endorsed Will Wilv son for governor in 1960 as a man not “associated with any political faction in Texas.” Sam Kinch in the Fort Worth StarTelegram speculated that the 1960 candidates may include Wilson, Highway Cmsr. Marshall Formby, Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey, Sen. Henry Gonzalez. ./ Alex Dickie, president of the V Texas Farmers’ Union and vice president of Democrats of Texas, wrote the Lubbock Evening Journal challenging “totally untrue statements” in the paper’s “The DOT is an organization of loyal Democrats,” he said. It does not advocate the various things the paper said it does, he maintained; its only program is the Democrats’ national platform and the majority report of the resolutions committee of the 1956 ‘state Convention. DOT is run. by “the grass roots loyal Democrats,” W. J. Durham, the Dallas Negro lawyer, is not on its executive committee, the Farmers Union does not want to organize farm workers, and Farmers Union has had “no better friend” than Lyndon Johnson, Dickie wrote. JReplying to Dickie, Lubbock editor Chas. Guy argued that DOT is critical of Johnson and Rayburn because “your own propaganda paper, owned by the No. 1 DOT, Mrs. R. D. Randolph,” has been more critical of Johnson and Rayburn than of Republicans. Page 6 August 15, 1958 A New Orleans Girl Stories from Louisiana Convention May Turn On Test Jockeying The author, a native Czech, retiring chairman of the department of Slavonic languages at the University of Texas, bounds along the sides of the streets of Austin to and from his classes every day. I have never seen him in a car; he is an inveterate walker, pacing along arms in swing. One day he approached the Observer office as I was leaving and clasped my hand. “My friend,” he said with a zest startling in the slow summer afternoon, “you are shaking ze hand zat shook ze hand of Tolstoy!” I was impressedafter all. 1909 it had been, Dr. Micek explained; shortly before Tolstoy abandoned his wife and children and home and went off to diein a little house beside the railroad tracks. Dr. Micek has come forward with a strange little book published locally under the sponsorship of the Czech Literary Society at the University, in which he is no doubt a prominent player. In 61 pages Micek has chaptered off Tolstoy’s life; War and Peace; “bigraphical background of Anna Karenina”; Tolstoy as a dramatist; Tolstoy’s religious views; Turgenev and Tolstoy; Tolstoy and